The Energy Challenge: A new agenda for corporate real estate
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In 2006, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) collaborated with CoreNet Global to assess the state of energy efficiency in corporate real estate and provide recommendations to encourage greater adoption of energy efficiency. As a member of the RMI project team, I was responsible for designing and analyzing a survey of corporate real estate professionals. The survey, which is detailed in this report, focuses on capturing the drivers of energy efficiency, the status of energy management, the energy efficiency practices taken throughout the real estate life cycle, and the barriers and enablers to incorporating energy efficiency in corporate real estate. Following the survey design, CoreNet Global sent the survey to its members, which include corporate real estate professionals serving a variety of functions throughout the real estate supply chain. The survey results paint a picture of slow adoption of energy efficiency. Nevertheless, the results provide signs of hope that concerns about sustainability and energy costs will spur a new era of investment in energy-efficient buildings. Companies looking to improve the energy efficiency of their building stock can embark on two paths. First, companies can choose to make a significant investment and create a comprehensive energy management system. Such a system typically includes an energy policy, quantitative and qualitative energy targets, information systems to track and communicate energy data, leadership responsibility for energy, and employee compensation linked to energy targets. Companies like Toyota and ABN AMRO have chosen this path. Second, for companies unwilling or unable to make a substantial investment in energy management, low cost actions exist that will improve energy efficiency and ready the company for developing a more comprehensive system in the future. These actions include initiating communication with business units and facilities management about energy efficiency; inserting energy efficiency requirements into real estate programming; launching low-cost/no-cost energy efficiency measures; and cataloguing the results from all energy efficiency projects. Given the wide array of options for incorporating energy efficiency, can the majority of the corporate real estate industry continue to dismiss energy efficiency? The evidence presented in this report suggests that the industry cannot continue to overlook energy efficiency.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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